As President-elect Donald Trump and his aides will soon discover, nothing prepares you for life in the White House. It’s part museum, part private home, and part cramped government office—just adjacent to hordes of television cameras and reporters. To mark the transition of power, TIME reached out to some of the only people who have relevant work experience, aides in the departing Administration, to share their tricks and tips for navigating life in the White House. The result, our cover story this week, Life in 1600. TIME Managing Editor Nancy Gibbs and Deputy Managing Editor Michael Duffy write on the historical nature of Trump taking power without ever serving in the government or the military—and the unique challenges that poses. Separately, 18 current and former White House staffers discuss the constant state of crisis, tiny offices, sleeping pills, tech support, and of course, taco Wednesdays.
Trump’s press conference Wednesday, was as advertised: a show. Here’s some of what we learned:
• For the first time, the President-elect admitted that Russia was behind the election-related hacks in 2016. This came after months of publicly sowing doubts.
• He forcefully pushed back on a leaked document purporting to be an intelligence assessment that the Russian government has compromising material on him.
• He picked a Secretary of Veterans Affairs, David Shulkin.
• He will introduce a plan to replace Obamacare once his HHS Secretary is confirmed—breaking from the repeal-and-wait plans of some in his party.
• He will nominate a Supreme Court justice within two weeks of taking office.
What to know about Trump’s ethics announcements. The Director of National Intelligence apologizes to Trump. And the Sessions hearing turned political for Cory Booker.
Here are your must reads:
Life at 1600
It’s one thing to be elected President of the U.S. Learning how to do the job usually takes longer [TIME]
Russia Rocks Rex Tillerson’s Confirmation Hearing
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio turns the screws, TIME’s Philip Elliott reports
Donald Trump Calls Russia Report ‘Fake News’ From ‘Sick People’
Finally admits Russia was behind election-related hacking in 2016 [TIME]
The Senate Just Took Its First Step Toward Repealing Obamacare
However, some Republicans have misgivings about setting a repeal effort in motion without a better idea of a replacement plan [Associated Press]
Experts Say Donald Trump’s Plan on Conflicts of Interest Falls Short
Ethics watchdogs say the President-elect’s plans are insufficient, TIME’s Alex Altman writes
Government Ethics Chief Says Trump’s Conflict-of-Interest Plan Isn’t Good Enough
Office of Government Ethics boss blasts Trump’s plan [Wall Street Journal]
Cory Booker Lays Groundwork for 2020 Run at Jeff Sessions Hearings
Breaches tradition by testifying against Senate colleague [TIME]
Spy Chief Trashes Leaks, Assures Trump of Loyalty
James Clapper says the intelligence community ‘stands ready to serve his administration.’ [Politico]
How a Sensational, Unverified Dossier Became a Crisis for Donald Trump
The tick-tock [New York Times]
“I think it was Russian.” —A terse admission from Trump on who was behind the DNC and Podesta hacks.
“I won. I became president. I don’t think they care at all”—Trump on why he doesn’t think voters care that he hasn’t released his tax returns.
Bits and Bites
Donald Trump Names David Shulkin to Lead Department of Veterans Affairs [Associated Press]
At Elaine Chao Hearing, Smiles and Laughter in an Otherwise Tense Washington [Wall Street Journal]